Diaz, Marcial and Yulo at 2023 Batang Pinoy and PNG opening rites

The 2023 Batang Pinoy (BP) and Philippine National Games (PNG) are set to kick off Sunday, December 17, at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium, with an ensemble of legendary Filipino sports icons headlining the opening ceremonies, promising a captivating and inspiring start to these prestigious games.

The gathering of Pinoy sports legends will include 2020 Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz and bronze medalist Eumir Felix Marcial, both of them alumni of several editions of BP and PNG.

Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo of the Philippines [PSC-POC photo]
Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo of the Philippines [PSC-POC photo]

They will be joined by top Filipino gymnast and Olympian Carlos Yulo, together with his younger brother Karl Eldrew – who competed in the 2018 and 2019 editions of Batang Pinoy, winning 12 gold and two silver medals.

“We are honored and thrilled to announce that some of the most iconic names in Philippine sports history will be gracing the opening ceremonies of the games,” said PSC Chairman Richard Bachmann.

Dubbed as “Sibol: The Rise of the New Athlete”, the return of the Philippine Sports Commission’s flagship grassroots program aims to be ground zero for top Filipino young athletes from where future international stars could eventually spring.

Tennis sensation Alex Eala, 2023 Asian Para Games gold medalist Jerrold Mangliwan, para swimming standout Angel Mae Otom, and bowling legend PSC Commissioner Olivia “Bong” Coo will also take part in the opening to complete the lineup of stars.

“Their presence serves as a testament to the rich legacy of sports in our nation and will undoubtedly inspire the next generation of athletes participating in these games,” Bachmann added.

As part of the festivities, the sports legends will be introduced, with performances retelling their personal journeys, challenges and triumphs that contributed to the growth and success of Philippine sports on the global stage.

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